This page is here mainly a reference for the many patients I see with sun
damaged skin who need advice about products to protect against further damage. I
see 25 - 50 patients a year with skin cancers, virtually all squamous cell
carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma. Neither is very often life threatening but
can cause significant trouble. Malignant Melanoma is significantly more life
threatening but much rarer.
UVB radiation is the main cause of skin burning. However it is thought that UVA
radiation is the main trigger for skin aging and skin cancer promotion. The UVA
protection rating of sunscreen is indicated by the star rating (1 to 5) usually
on the back of the bottle.
Remember the best protection is covering up in the sun with clothes, hat, sunglasses,
and avoiding exposure where possible.
Sunscreens alone are unsatisfactory. By
allowing longer exposure they may even increase the risk especially if the UVA
protection of the sunscreen is poor. However, using sunscreen remains important.
Most people with healthy skin will manage well with the common sunscreens.
However, it is important to remember that we all need some UV to help us make
Vitamin D so some balance is required especially if you are elderly and spend a
lot of time indoors or if you are located in the more northern parts of the UK.
More information about UV radiation, look at the
Cancer Research UK and
On UV, skin and car paint!
UV and damage to skin
Richard James. Last updated
12 August 2015
Please note that information and advice provided on this web site is intended
only for residents of the United Kingdom